LabEx ICoME2

The ICOME2 Labex aims at establishing both research and educational durable links between the joint CNRS-MIT laboratory, the CINaM laboratory which is a joint laboratory between CNRS and Aix-Marseille Université (AMU) and the SOLEIL synchrotron facility in Paris through the Nanotomography beamline (Equipex NanoimageX; the UMI being part of this Equipex project).

The CNRS-MIT UMI laboratory has opened in December 2011 as the concrete expression of both parties in building reinforced peer-to-peer collaborations. The CNRS-MIT UMI is composed of French academic/CNRS scientists and MIT professors. A Memorandum of Understanding between CNRS and MIT stating the creation of the UMI was signed in June 2011. From the will of the President of CNRS, the UMI is to have a mirror site at CINaM, the CNRS-Aix-Marseille Université research laboratory on materials and nano-science; idea thoroughly supported by AMU.

In addition, the UMI is the flagship of the international research network “Multi-Scale Materials Under the Nanoscope, M2UN; a CNRS GdR-I. This GdR-I connects about 12 CNRS labs and MIT but also several French, American and European Universities and French American and European  research organizations, it represents about 50 academics.

The funding of this Labex is used (i) to provide supplementary salaries to the French academics joining the UMI, (ii) to provide means for carrying the UMI research project including sponsorships of research projects between the CNRS-MIT UMI and CINaM through exchanges researchers, PhD and post-doctoral assistants (iii) to provide means of achieving its educational program: the UMI participates in the Master of Material Science of AMU by organizing lecturing of AMU students by the UMI researchers (French and American) through a yearly winter school.

The recent disasters of the Japanese nuclear plant and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico highlight the lack of materials technology and the need of renewing engineering practices from science-based principles. A similar yet less dramatic lack of knowledge expands into many fields of environmental and energy related materials research, from the environmental compatibility of shale-gas to the long-term stability of fuel bars. A new multi-scale approach is needed to integrate different scale knowledge into accurate models of relevant phenomena and complex systems across multiple length and time scales. We propose a shift of paradigm based on a bottom-up approach that will be applied to and tested for most important technological, economical and environmental materials: cement, ceramics, solid nuclear fuels, geo-materials...; all being important classes of multi-scale materials.

We propose a gradual bottom-up approach amenable to bridging time and length scales based on the handshake between numerical simulations and experiments that is the core thrust of the science of this Labex project. It has the ambition to take this new multiscale approach heads-on into the realm of materials science and engineering of industrially important and societal critical materials long time neglected by main stream R&D. Ultimately, this project is transformational shifting existing technology from empirical practice to science-based knowledge in the context of sustainability, durability, energy and waste management with the emergence of a new interdisciplinary field of research at the frontier between Sciences and Engineering. This Labex project connecting the CNRS-AMU CINaM laboratory and the SOLEIL Synchrotron to CNRS-MIT UMI (and the GdR-i M2UN) provides an ideal frame for science-driven discovery and engineering breakthroughs as it is both fundamental and applied merging Science and Engineering in a single research field.

For more information about A*MIDEX, please click here